Couple Watching Television

(© Andrey Popov -

NEW YORK — The average person has 13 TV shows and 16 movies on their watch list to get through — averaging a total of 104 hours, according to a new study. According to a recent survey of 2,000 adults, 68 percent of Americans have a TV show and movie watch list so long, it’s “nearly impossible” for them to get through it.

In all, 73 percent of respondents have a list of shows and films they’ve been meaning to watch. Yet only 58 percent of them have made it through their entire list. Of the 42 percent who have failed to make it through their list, many claim the biggest obstacles are dealing with the list getting longer (43%), thinking it’s already too long (29%) or thinking that it’s overwhelming to watch all that TV (25%).

The most popular, well-known shows at the top of people’s current watch list include “Stranger Things” (24%), “Game of Thrones” (21%), “The Walking Dead” (21%), “Breaking Bad” (19%), and “Squid Game” (19%).

Millennials are nearly twice as likely to have true crime shows on their watchlists than Gen Z (45% compared to 26%). Gen Z, on the other hand, was found to have a penchant for sitcoms (38%). Gen X and baby boomers both prefer full-hour procedurals (50% and 58%, respectively).

tv watch lists

How do people keep track of all these TV shows?

The study, commissioned by the global streaming media platform Plex and conducted by OnePoll, finds that 58 percent struggle to keep track of everything they want to watch, making organizing their watch list a “must.” When organizing the list of content they want to watch, 39 percent either use a note in their phone or a physical, written list to track shows and movies, while 40 percent try to remember what they want to watch.

Women are especially fond of keeping a mental list in their head — 46 percent try to remember what they want to watch, compared to just 32 percent of men. Meanwhile, 46 percent of men prefer using a note on their phones.

Nearly a third (31%) of respondents have had the content from their list recommended to them by friends or family. A quarter get recommendations from influencers or social media.

“With the high volume of amazing new shows and movies that are released weekly, it can be overwhelming to keep track of everything you want to watch,” says Jason Williams, product director at Plex, in a statement. “A universal watchlist that tracks movies and shows across all major streaming platforms, will help you manage what to watch and where to watch it.”

Streaming chaos

The average person subscribes to, or has access to, four different streaming platforms at any given time. Half say it’s a struggle to find out what streaming platform content is on, averaging 30 minutes flipping from one platform to another searching for something to watch. Two-thirds (65%) would prefer watching something from their list before defaulting to something else — but it takes the average person a half-hour and flipping back and forth between four different streaming platforms to decide on what to watch.

For over half (56%), they’ll opt to turn off the TV and find something else to do if they can’t find something to watch. Almost as many (55%) will end up re-watching an old favorite if they can’t find anything else.

“You shouldn’t have to flip back and forth between apps to find what you want to watch,” Williams continues. “For many, the ideal, most enjoyable streaming experience should be accessible across the web, mobile, and TV — it should also know what content you have access to, your interests, and your watchlist.”

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

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1 Comment

  1. Mic J Palazzolo says:

    Circus Maximus.